The fifth day of July 2021, what a black blot indeed in the annals of World Human Rights Movement And Mission !
The shocking demise of Father Stanislaus Swamy popularly known as Father Stan Swamy Jesuit in judicial custody a year ago was a tragedy indeed too deep for tears and a black blot on our national polity. His unfortunate bidding adieu to the world in a Mumbai Hospital was indeed a ghastly act of inhumanity on the part of “ powers that be.” It was and is a sad and stinging commentary on the hollow ploys and false claims “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas and Sab Ka Vishwas “ resonating in the air off and on.
A crusader for Jal(Water), Jungle(Forest) and Zameen(Land) throughout his whole life, he was a messiah of the tribal, poor and marginalized sections of society striving relentlessly for their cause ! A dauntless and valiant warrior while in prison, he had said,” We will still sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing.”
His fortitude, passion for protecting human rights, soft corner for down trodden and love of humanity did win laurels when an international human rights body Martin Ennals Geneva decorated him with the Human Rights Defenders Award 2022 posthumously immortalizing him for the very mission of his life. This honor is indeed a glowing and befitting tribute to the cause so close to his heart all his life.
The departed soul yearned for an interim bail, not treatment at any hospital but all his entreaties went in vain. Here, it is pertinent to mention Justice Madan B. Lokur, a former Apex Court Judge’s deep concern who too could not help expressing his disgust on our justice delivery system making a grave observation,
” I am disappointed with the courts and prosecution in this case. This is ‘inhuman’.”
This uncommon custodial death of a human rights activist puts many question marks on the unconstitutional, insensitive, lawless and blind style of functioning of nation’s polity representing various streams of state’s modus operandi.
The polity still must hang its head in shame on various acts of omission and commission on its part deeming it as an eye- opener and lesson learning exercise. The way things are taking shape these days, it is foolish to expect the polity to learn any lesson because a large number of identical intellectual human rights activists too are languishing in jails. It is for the masses to wake up from their deep slumber to be quite agile, vigilant and aware of their rights and learning the art of how to safeguard the same?
The Father Jesuit’s death on July 05 even today raises too many quisitive fingers at the institutions and organs of the state meant for discharging their duties and responsibilities diligently in the letter and spirit ! Are National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Panels’ functionaries true and sincere to the task for which they are implied to be in their chairs ? Then are the courts of law, investigating agencies, prosecution and police performing their duties objectively and independently sans any pressure from “above”? Are these not white elephants acting as just ornamental decoration pieces only to dazzle symbolically and to make merry at the cost of tax payers money ?
It is very crystal clear that Father Stan Swamy ‘s expiry in judicial custody certainly goes a long way in diminishing highest institutions of the justice delivery system and glory of the tenet of natural justice in India. Are the alarming bells ringing for those deaf, dumb and blind at the helm of affairs of nation or not is infact a multi-million dollar question?
Is it still not a soul -searching question and challenge for the entire so- called governance system even one year after his stunning exit from the globe ? Will anyone have the conviction to come forward to reply these questions hanging fire for pretty long a period ?
May the departed noble and great soul rest in eternal peace !
Contributed by :
Prof PK Sharma, Associate Professor of English(Retired), Former Reporter The Tribune-Freelance Journalist. Pom Anm Nest, Barnala(Punjab). e-mail : email@example.com